After I spent the day warding off angry Knick fans on twitter for saying that he wasn’t a top 10 player in the league, Carmelo Anthony dropped a 50 burger on the Heat in Miami. He was truly fantastic, getting his 50 points on 18/26 shooting. I don’t care if LeBron and Wade were out, scoring 50 points on anybody is impressive. The game itself was frustrating in the first half, as the Knicks came out flat. Even if they had lost, I wouldn’t have cried panic. It’s hard for teams to come out fired up when the other team is missing it’s two best players. Like good teams do, the Knicks turned it up in the second half and took care of the depleted Heat. After hitting 7 threes in the first half, Miami was able to score just 32 points in the second half.
Is this a huge statement win for the Knicks? No. Miami didn’t have LeBron or Wade and this a game the Knicks should’ve won. That being said, they did well to actually win the game. It’s really difficult for teams at this point of the season to come out fired up against depleted teams. Obviously it was a great game for Anthony, but the Knicks did well to come out and take care of business tonight.
Here are my notes from the game:
- I don’t hate Carmelo. In fact, I like Melo very much. He’s probably my favorite NBA player and hell, the blog is named after him. The fact that I don’t think of him as a top 10 player has nothing to do with personal disdain, as I enjoy watching him play very much. Tonight was awesome. To see Anthony scoring at the pinnacle of his game was so fun to watch. You saw the skills Melo brings to the table. Efficient spot up shooting, mid-range brilliance and the ability to make plays out of double teams. We saw the entire package offensively. He’d be a consensus top 10 player if we saw performances of this ilk more often, obviously he’s not scoring 50 every night. Not only should we celebrate what he accomplished tonight, but we should hope to see this kind of play more often. I will say, it’s great that Melo seems to perform great in April. He was obviously great last year in the season’s waining month and he got off to another good start tonight. Let’s hope that he can continue this level of production as the Knicks move into postseason play. They need it.
- Apart from Anthony, the Knicks offense was poor tonight. Felton woke up a bit in the 4th, but didn’t play a very good game. Smith was just 5/15, and weirdly got his shot blocked a couple times, including by Rashard Lewis. Kidd was a non-factor offensively, and really bad defensively, as was Novak, Copeland and Chandler. Shumpert hit a trio of threes, which was great to see, but only got five shot attempts in 22 minutes. Though Miami was without their two superstars, they still played great defense. They completely took the Knicks out of their pick and roll game and destroyed possessions by fronting Melo. The Knicks won, but they have a long way to go. They need to figure out how to beat Miami’s constant blitzing of pick and rolls and they definitely need to figure out how to beat fronts. Until they do that, I’m still skeptical on their prospects if the two teams meet in the playoffs.
- Jason Kidd had a really bad game defensively and I blame Mike Woodson for that. A couple times Kidd was beaten off the dribble by guys like Norris Cole, and there’s not much you can do about that. At his advanced age, Kidd is no longer the elite perimeter defender he once was. What I didn’t like, and didn’t understand, was why Woodson had him assigned to Ray Allen on defense. Miami ran Allen through a plethora of screens and Kidd could not keep up. Allen scored 16 points, scoring 6 of them at the rim. With guys like James Jones and Mike Miller and Shane Battier on the court, New York should’ve been able to hide Kidd on one of those guys rather than have him chase Allen all game. That was a bad strategic lapse on Woodson’s part.
- Tyson looked rusty, but that was certainly to be expected. Offensively he was a non-factor and he only grabbed 2 rebounds in 23 minutes. Chandler’s performance doesn’t really matter though. What mattered was that he didn’t look injured or discomforted in any way. He still was able to block a few shots and alter a few others, so he wasn’t a complete non-factor. It’s good to see him back out there. There should be a enough time for him to get back to heath and ready to go for the playoffs, so I’m not worried about him.
- With three more triples tonight, Iman Shumpert continued his hot shooting streak. Over the last 20 games, Shumpert is hitting on 47.5% of his threes, including 15/26 from the corners. This is a great development. When Shumpert came back, we all said “man if he can hit that corner three”. Where Ronnie Brewer fizzled out, Shumpert is thriving which has allowed the Knicks wide open offense to have continued success. Hopefully this is not just a one time hot streak and Shumpert can continue to shoot well from the corner for the remainder of his career. He can be a Shane Battier type player, boasting elite perimeter defense and corner three accuracy.
- Melo had 50!
- K-Mart was good again tonight. His defense was excellent, he was useful on offense and he delivered some awesome hard fouls. I hate talking about “the toughness and veteran grit” that Kenyon brings to the table because that’s media speak that doesn’t really matter. However, it is awesome to see him really enforcing that ‘no layups’ sort of thinking on defense. His clean, hard fouls really are fun to watch and provides a nice throw back style player for a team whose historical identity is as a blue collar defensive team.
That’s all I’ve got. Onto the Hawks tomorrow night on ESPN.
Follow Taylor on Twitter @tarmosino